A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 23 weeks gestation.
According to the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) website, statistics in the UK show prior to 4 weeks gestation, the percentage chance of losing a pregnancy is 25% percent, that is 1 in 4 women. The rate could be much higher when considering very early miscarriage in women who do not know they are pregnant.
The rate reduces drastically after 4 weeks.
Up to 8 weeks the percentage probability is 5%, up to 12 weeks it is 1.7% and up to 16 weeks it is 0.5%.
As a Mum who has experienced miscarriage and knows many women who have also, multiple times, the numbers do not shock me.
Do they shock you?
Whilst I am aware that 25% of pregnancies can end in miscarriage very early on, it didn’t soften the blow when it happened to me. Nor was I aware of its prevalence before …
My fiancé and I hadn’t planned on getting pregnant, although it is arguably more likely to happen if you have unprotected sex when you know you are ovulating… so perhaps the forethought was there.
We hadn’t been together for very long but when I found out I was pregnant neither of us could hide our excitement or joy.
We found out quite early on, at about 2-3 weeks because I was always very aware of tracking my cycle, hence why we knew I was ovulating.
You try and not get your hopes up, you know that miscarriage is common but you just can’t help it.
About 2 weeks after we found out, I was approximately 5 weeks pregnant and we went for a romantic weekend away to Paris. It was bliss, except I was beginning to feel a bit nauseous.
I struggle now to look back on the photos from that weekend…
On the Monday morning I went back to work and I realised that the nausea had stopped completely. I had a horrible feeling but I tried to carry on with my day, putting it to the back of my mind.
During my lunch break, I was sitting talking to a friend and whilst I don’t remember feeling like I was bleeding, I felt serious cramps and rushed to the toilet.
I was bleeding and I just knew. I knew what it meant.
Holding back the tears, I went to my desk, collected my things and walked out of the office, not speaking to anyone.
I took out my phone and called Ryan. By this point I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.
“I’m having a miscarriage”, as tears ran down my face as I sped through a busy lunchtime in the City, straight for the train. I just wanted to go home. To Ryan.
He picked me up from the station and I was in a sense of shock. We went to the Doctors (fairly pointless) and then we went home where I curled up in bed and for 2 days I did nothing but drink tea, eat chocolate and watch TV under the duvet. I needed to not deal with it, just for a little while.
I couldn’t sleep, I felt a bit numb.
I remember Ryan making me tea at 5am as I sat there in the dark.
Once I’d begun to process the information, which did take time, I felt the only way I could move forward was to get pregnant again.
I wonder now whether I handled it well? Was that the sensible decision? Had I processed the loss properly?
I did what I felt we needed to do. We wanted a baby.
We had one cycle afterwards where we didn’t fall pregnant, and the cycle afterwards we did, and we now have our beautiful baby girl who is nearly a year old.
We are very, very lucky. We were told that it could take months, if not longer to re-conceive.
I don’t call her my rainbow baby, she is just our baby. Our perfect, gorgeous, sassy, strong-minded daughter.
No one (up until now…) knows this story in full, other than me and Ryan.
I have told many people that I have had a miscarriage as I feel it is SO important to share because I want other women, if and when they go through something similar, to not feel alone!
The reason I have never shared this story is because I’ve always felt it “didn’t count”. That my experience with miscarriage at 5-6 weeks is not the same, or as bad, as someone else’s experience.
Of course it isn’t, some people have to go through the most tragic losses, losses that I cannot even imagine.
But it does not mean that my pain isn’t important.
All women, all Mums, should be able to share their experiences and make it normal for us to talk about it. By doing so, when the next woman, who does have a miscarriage feels alone, she will know where to turn. That amazing community of Mums who are so good at supporting one another.
Whether you miscarry at 4 weeks, 12 weeks, 20 weeks, you have suffered a loss, you are grieving, and you are allowed to talk about it.
Do not feel ashamed.
Let’s make this normal to talk about.
You’ve got this Mama.